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UN adopts first global AI resolution


UN adopts first global AI resolution

The United Nations General Assembly has unanimously adopted the first global resolution on artificial intelligence that encourages countries to safeguard human rights, protect personal data, and monitor AI for risks.


The nonbinding resolution, proposed by the United States and co-sponsored by China and over 120 other nations, also advocates the strengthening of privacy policies. The resolution is the latest in a series of initiatives by governments around the world to shape AI's development.


"Today, all 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly have spoken in one voice, and together, chosen to govern artificial intelligence rather than let it govern us," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.


This resolution is the latest in a series of initiatives undertaken by the governments globally to shape AI's development.


"The improper or malicious design, development, deployment and use of artificial intelligence systems ... pose risks that could ... undercut the protection, promotion and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms," the measure says. The US, Britain and many other countries in November have unveiled the first detailed international agreement on how to keep artificial intelligence safe from rogue actors, pushing for companies to create AI systems that are "secure by design."  


In this, Europe is the frontrunner and EU lawmakers are adopting a provisional agreement this month to oversee the technology. US President Joe Biden is also pushing the lawmakers for AI regulation, but a polarized U.S. Congress has made little headway.


In the meantime, the White House sought to reduce AI risks to consumers, workers, and minorities while bolstering national security with a new executive order in October.


It took almost four months to negotiate the resolution, but that it gave the world "a baseline set of principles to guide next steps in AI’s development and use," said U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.    


While replying to the query regarding facing resistance from Russia or China, senior administration officials said there were "lots of heated conversations," but the administration actively engaged with countries with which it has different views.


Like governments around the world, Chinese and Russian officials are eagerly exploring the use of AI tools for a variety of purposes. Last month, Microsoft said it had caught hackers from both countries using Microsoft-backed OpenAI software to hone their espionage skills.

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